The relationship between Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and the conservative voters would fall into the “it’s complicated” category if it had an identity on Facebook.
Heading into the Iowa caucus, there are three things to realize when attempting to understand the political campaigns of the GOP front runners.
1. If Trump hits Cruz too hard, he will lose (and he knows it)
On my morning talk show I put it this way: Think of Cruz as the wife of the voters and Trump as the mistress. If the mistress pushes the voters too hard to dump their wife, the voters will turn on the mistress and go back home.
Every Trump voter is a Cruz voter at the core. The problem for Cruz is that all of them don’t know it. The problem for Trump is that enough of them know it to hand him a defeat if they think that Trump isn’t really serious about sticking it to the establishment.
Although Cruz is a proven leader in the conservative movement, conservatives are concerned that things are “too far gone” to just plug in Ted Cruz and hope for things to right themselves. As I said in an earlier ClashDaily article, Sarah Palin obviously thinks we need to tear everything down to rebuild, and that’s why any conservative would choose Trump over Cruz. Trump tears down quicker and does more damage than Cruz. That much is true.
But Trump needs to understand that after he’s done tearing everything down, voters know that a young Ted Cruz can swoop in and rebuild. The hope and desire of a “Trump/Cruz ticket” affirm this to me.
If Trump attacks Cruz in a way that is critical or damaging to Cruz, Trump attacks the guy that most Trump voters would like to hand the keys over to once Trump has kicked the bad guys out of the building. At that point, Trump’s intentions go from good to self-serving.
2. If Cruz his Trump too hard, he will lose (and he knows it)
While it’s not the same thing, it’s similar. If the wife begs the husband to dump the mistress too aggressively, it’s likely that hubby is out the door.
Cruz knows that Trump supporters have seen so many “good ideas” left hanging in the breeze that an attempt to hit Trump on his inability to embrace “good solid conservative ideas” will be seen embracing more of the same. Trump is different, truly different. And Cruz, let’s face it, on paper, is saying what virtually all Republicans say in an election year. I know Cruz is different, but the American people don’t.
3. Rick Tyler is now running the Cruz campaign
National spokesman Rick Tyler spent many years with Newt Gingrich, and although he’s just a “spokesman”, he spent a lot of time with GOPAC and working on campaigns.
Although I’ve watched Rick change a little over the years, he’s smart and he has no patience for B.S. He’s soft spoken, intelligent, and professional. But at his core he’s a street-fighter.
Watch Cruz start talking like Newt. The mannerisms, the tactics, and the ability to bring everything back to a “look, here’s the problem” center of common sense. It’s what made Newt a hero to many conservatives and it’s what makes Tyler such an effective campaigner.
My prediction of the whole thing is this: Cruz gets aggressive, Trump dodges Cruz, voters get confused.
Cruz and Trump are the only true anti-establishment candidates in the field. If the others clear out, their supporters will decide who wins. Who wins will depend on which direction the Rubio, Carson, Bush, and other supporters will take: burn down and start over, or try to revive with the existing infrastructure. It really is as simple as that.
Images: Gage Skidmore https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Donald_Trump_by_Gage_